Ostomy United is a Team of ostomates, WOC nurses, friends, and family who participate in triathlons to inspire and empower those living with ostomies. Our members range in age from their teens to over 70 years old, and many have never participated in a triathlon before.
The idea of Ostomy United began in early 2015 while I was competing at the State triathlon in Washington with the “Hooligans” (the cheer and support crew of OU). I was so inspired by what we had accomplished that I wanted to share our triumphs and stories with the ostomy community. I created a Facebook page and began sharing photos and posting events, which lead to gaining sponsors to support us.
The highlight of our 2015 season was the first official race last August at the Lake Meridian Triathlon. Ostomates swam, cycled and hoofed their way across the miles while ‘Hooligan’ fans screamed support as the “tri-osto-letes” raced towards the finish line. By the time the dust settled, every ostomate had successfully finished the race and Ostomy United took the medal podium three times, inspiring all in attendance. On that day we lived up to the team motto… There Is Nothing We Can’t Do!
Ostomy United has grown rapidly with team members in six states, including an affiliate team in Florida. 2016 was an exciting year with ostomates from three different states competing in half-Ironman triathlons - a 70.3-mile race consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run. This is a grueling even on its own, but with an ostomy, there are additional challenges including increased risk of dehydration and maintaining an ostomy appliance during the race. Despite the challenges, each ostomate finished their race like any other successful triathlete.
Ostomy United will be participating in two upcoming events. The Washington Team will once again take part in the Lake Meridian Triathlon on August 13 and on September 4, the Florida Team will take part in its very first race at the Liquivita Lounge Labor Day Triathlon. Some will complete an entire triathlon on their own while others will do so as part of a relay team.
As the season’s grand finale, I’ll attempt to compete in the Ironman Wisconsin, a 140-mile race on September 11. My ostomy surgery was only four years ago and my first triathlon ever was one year ago, so finishing this event is not a sure thing. Much better athletes than myself have tried and failed. My training up to this point has gone well, so I believe successfully completing the race is within reach!
Ostomy United was created to empower the ostomy community by promoting ostomates who compete in triathlons and other athletic events. We want to give back to incredible organizations who help ostomates and support our mission.
Here are three ways you can support Ostomy United:
In the next day:
Head over to the Ostomy United Facebook page to "like” and share our posts! Leave a message of encouragement for the ostomates competing in upcoming races.
In the next week:
Become a “tri-osto-lete” in your own state by wearing our jersey at your event. There’s also the option of joining the “Hooligans” to cheer along the sidelines.
In the next month:
Click here to find out how you can become an Ostomy United sponsor.